“After” pictures. Because I said I would. But they sure are dull. after drawer

If Martha Stewart were going to take a picture of a recently tidied kitchen drawer — and she might — it would not be like this. For one thing, it would contain more picturesque stuff.

And then it would be dressed up. The measuring spoons would be tied together with Midori ribbon and the garlic press would be decked with sprigs of lavender and everything would either match or be fascinatingly collectibly mismatched. The organizers would not be white plastic and old Yorkshire Tea boxes, but wicker painted the colors of rare hens’ eggs. Or stainless steel. The drawer itself would be snazzier in some way.

I have much more photogenic drawers and cabinets than these, but I am stuck with these for the “after” pictures because they are what I had for “before” pictures. It is the spaces full of dull stuff that get messy.

after cabinet Ozarque was not impressed by my “before” pictures, actually, and claimed to have much untidier drawers and cabinets. I have spent a lot of time in Ozarque’s kitchen, and I don’t recall that it was all that messy. However, we do not often see into other people’s cabinets, do we?

It happens that my friend Partygirl has a kitchen that is laid out exactly like mine (we live in the same neighborhood, and probably had the same builder, way back in the mists of time when these houses were built). And it happens that I was helping in her kitchen one day, which is really the only way we get to see the innards of people’s kitchen storage. And this is how I know that the cabinet in her house which corresponds to my Plastic Stuff and Holiday Dishes cabinet contains kitchen gear packed in the original boxes.

I was kind of impressed by that. I can’t imagine going to the trouble of putting any bit of kitchen stuff back into its box before putting it away.

runner 10 21 Here also is an “after” picture of the table runner, after I spent the afternoon and evening working on it.

And, because I realize that it hardly looks any different, a picture with no flash, in an attempt to show the quilting.

It is still dark outside, so there are limits to what I can do in the way of no-flash photography, but stitching did take place yesterday,and here it is.

I did not do all the things I should have yesterday.

I began the day with the running of errands, including a trip to the mall. runner quilting

One of the first things you do when Overcoming Agoraphobia is to make a list of your aversions, ranked by how distressing you find them. So, for me, the list runs from using the telephone (mild disinclination) to driving in winter weather (abject terror). Going to the mall is in the middle there. I don’t feel frightened at all, but I do tend to feel disoriented, confused, and desperate to leave and go home.

However, once I arrived and found the store which was my major objective, I had no difficulty. This store had no difficult aspects —

I don’t know quite how to put that. Agoraphobia is about aversions, and they have to do with travel, social or business interactions, spaces, and sometimes food. I don’t really see the connection among these things, but apparently agoraphobia just never involves aversions to particular animals or tubas or anything, just those four issues. All the things I have trouble with that involve travel can be easily summed up by the term “scary roads.” During my work on Overcoming my Agoraphobia, I put in all sorts of time determining exactly what constituted a scary road, though I also found to my surprise that normal people really saw no difference between scary and non-scary roads, even when they were traveling with me and beguiling the time by trying to learn to recognize them.

Since shopping centers are pretty low on my list of aversions and also very low on my list of priorities, I have not made the same effort to identify the factors that make one store more unpleasant to me than another, or to come up with a term that would allow me to discuss why I enjoy the farmers market and hate grocery stores. But the store at the mall that I went to was okay.

I have shopped at this place before and they sent me a catalog last month. It had the surprising effect of causing me to want to buy an article of clothing.

I have read that the average American woman buys a piece of clothing every week. I manage about six a year, which is an enormous improvement over my previous ways. The woman I teach Sunday School with was telling the kids how she has a rule: when she buys a new blouse, she has to get rid of an old one. This was met with complete silence, and she looked to me for support, but I had nothing to offer her. I am working hard on having enough clothing that I can throw things away when they have holes in them.

So I was sort of excited about the idea of buying a couple of garments. Again, this is hard to explain. I suppose it would be most like beginning to take an interest in food after a bout of the flu or something. Just the fact of actually wanting to buy a piece of clothing seemed like progress.

I told #2 daughter that I was toying with the idea of ordering a skirt and top. She told me I had to go to the physical store and try them on. I saw the justice of this. After all, both my daughters live in other states, and I cannot very well expect them to come and help me buy clothing. I will just have to get accustomed to it if I am not to look like an absolute hobo. And it only took me a week or two to bring myself to do it.

The young woman there was very helpful. When I turned down her offers of credit cards and frequent buyer programs and things, she asked how often I shopped there. I toyed with the idea of explaining my little mental disorder and that even now that I have Overcome Agoraphobia I only go to the mall once a year, and to her store in particular less than that, because I can only go to two stores before I simply have to leave, and that even so items from her store constitute a third of my wardrobe, but in the end I just said I only went there about once a year. She wrapped my skirt up very nicely for me.

I might go back. In less than a year, even. It was not that bad. I went afterwards to do the grocery shopping and made it all the way through my list, so I felt quite successful. I was not, however, able to go on to the library. It was noon by the time I got all my other errands done, and 75,000 people were watching the local football team play Ole Miss quite near to the library. I had lots more excuses, actually, excuse-making also being a major feature of agoraphobia, but I will not bore us both by listing them.

However, I feel the fact-checking deadline looming, so I may get over there today. I am hoping that the newspaper archive will help me find a good source, as I have been asked to do. I am not that sanguine on the subject, actually, as I have spent a lot of time in online newspaper archives without finding anything a person could describe as “a  good source,” but it could happen.